Upper Hawksbill Trail

MODERATE 212 reviews
#16 of 185 trails in

Upper Hawksbill Trail is a 2.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Syria, Virginia that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 2.2 miles Elevation Gain: 488 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

trail running

bird watching

forest

views

wildlife

rocky

The Upper Hawksbill Trail is the easiest route to the summit of Hawksbill, which is the tallest mountain in Shenandoah National Park. From the parking lot, begin hiking from the Upper Hawksbill Trailhead. Like all park trails, the trail has blue blazes. The lower portion of the trail is very wide and well maintained and follows a gradual slope that makes for relatively easy hiking. The trail is heavily wooded, so no views are available, but wildlife sightings are possible. About three-fourths of the way up, the trail levels off and turns northwest for a few hundred yards. The trail actually goes slightly downhill before intersecting the Hawksbill fire road. Turn right on fire road, which heads northeast to the summit. The park fire road is steeper and rockier than the rest of the trail, so the hiking is more difficult. The first sign that you have reached the summit is a Byrd's Nest shelter. From the Byrd's nest, follow the signs to the summit, which has a stone observation platform. The views from the summit are well worth the hike, and include commanding views of Betty's Rock to the northeast, Old Rag Mountain to the east, and the Shenandoah Valley to the west. One could easily spend thirty to sixty minutes at the summit, so allow time to enjoy the view. To return to the parking lot, retrace your steps.

hiking
4 days ago

We did this hike up and back in less than 1.5 hours not including time spent on the summit. It was worth every step as the summit is beautiful. The trail is wide and pretty easy to navigate. The last .7 miles is pretty much straight up. Did this hike with our 11 and 9 year old children. Do this while visiting the park!

hiking
5 days ago

The views from the summit made the trek up worth it! We hiked it on a Saturday, late morning and it was busy, but definitely not over-crowded.

hiking
12 days ago

much easier than lower hawkbill trail

12 days ago

Easy/moderate trail to be pretty much all uphill for a mile compared to others I've been on in SNP. Beautiful views at the top, very much worth the effort.

hiking
1 month ago

Decided to do upper hawksbill trail as we found a good parking spot in this lot when we went last week. It was a great hike with beautiful view at summit!

hiking
1 month ago

Nice hike. Some uphill battles but nothing too hard. View at the top is all worth it!! Beautiful.

hiking
1 month ago

So beautiful! Worth every step!!

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked 6/1/19: Hiked around lunchtime, temp mid 60s when we started. Trail has a nice gradual elevation gain, moderate but borderline easy trail. The trail is extra wide, so getting along was uncomplicated, even when passing other hikers. The view at the top is amazing! The trail was a little crowded, but there is room to spread out at the summit. There's a shelter at the top should you get caught in weather. No restroom or Porta-John, so plan accordingly while traveling Skyline Drive. Highly recommend this trail!

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Not a bad hike, but the gravely path (especially the larger, looser gravel) was a little rough for our dogs paws and they were being very careful on the way down to make sure they were on the smoothest part of the path.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

Short trail, little over a mile up but all uphill then of course all down hill going back, it was so foggy you couldn’t see the view, but I’m sure it is great, gotta come back on a sunny day.

hiking
2 months ago

Spring wild flowers made the hike up worthwhile, which would otherwise have been just ok. Excellent views from the top.

hiking
2 months ago

So worth the amazing view! Wow!!!

hiking
3 months ago

Combined this with the Hawksbill loop to make for a nice mid-day hike. Started here, made the loop back to the summit, then came back down this trail to get back to our car.

3 months ago

easy trail with an amazing view

hiking
scramble
3 months ago

hiking
snow
3 months ago

Hiking in March with three kids in snow. Path well marked but somewhat slippery/icy. Gorgeous view. About 1.5h to the lookout and back.

6 months ago

Good hike worth the view

hiking
7 months ago

Completed this trail along with the named loop. Hiked a total of 3.5 miles.

7 months ago

Not too long, not too short. Has equal amount ease and steepness to challenge you!

hiking
7 months ago

Super easy hike, amazing views but super crowded at the top (even in 22 degree weather!). We had our two dogs with us and we passed lots of other dogs on the way, so make sure your furry friends are well behaved!

hiking
8 months ago

Good, moderate trail. Wide pathways with small, loose rocks. Go early in the morning (before 9am) to avoid crowds. The views at the top are nothing short of stunning. Can get windy though, so be careful. Would do this again. Took some smaller, offshoot trails for even more views.

8 months ago

A little steep at times, but totally worth it! The view and the wind take your breath away! Beautiful leisurely hike back downhill to the car. Highest point in the park!

8 months ago

This trail was very easy and didn’t take but maybe an hour to complete. The top was amazing but be prepared to share it with tons of other people because it’s a popular hike!

hiking
8 months ago

very short and easy trail gradual incline nothing too serious, was alot easier than the lower hawksbill loop trail, we started up this trail summited and then did the loop and summited a second time was about 5 miles or so total, I reccommend the loop trail if youre looking for a harder hike. it was very windy and a tad chilly at the summit could see some frost and a few snowflakes on the ground

8 months ago

Viewpoint of townside of valley ok. Very short easy hike

10 months ago

Breath taking views and a beautiful family adventure!

hiking
10 months ago

Great stop while riding along Skyline Drive. Limited views when the clouds are low but still fun.

11 months ago

Nice hike. Not as hard as I thought, it's a pretty gentle slope. Great views from the top!

hiking
11 months ago

The views from the top are really nice. An easy trail as well. I wasn't a fan of the trail leading up though. There were a lot of gravel sections, which aren't a favorite to hike on. A few falls from loose rocks on the way down.

hiking
11 months ago

The trail is more gradual than the lower hawksbill and a really enjoyable hike. Walk through the woods was awesome and so peaceful, then getting to the summit was amazing. I'm not in great shape so it took me an hour to get to the summit and 40 minuets to come back down.

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